Cancer Support Community Central NJ (CSCCNJ) is creating a model for dealing with emergencies that participants feel may or may not be bigger than the cancer diagnosis on their family.

gI_68891_NewsImage_vcsPRAsset_3446808_68891_a93d418d-0073-4332-89fc-53fc01e1f91f_0.pngIn the midst of a media firestorm where seemingly every story is centered on COVID-19, there are thousands of individuals and families coping with a cancer diagnosis. Cancer Support Community Central NJ (CSCCNJ) is creating a model for dealing with emergencies that participants feel may or may not be bigger than the cancer diagnosis on their family.

The CSCCNJ social workers and allied health professionals provide vital psychosocial support and services to people who never expected that they or a loved one would be facing a life threatening health crisis. The cancer diagnosis is the primary stressor in their lives. In an effort to get ahead of the COVID-19 emergency, it is important to check in with the community to ensure that they feel supported and informed. To understand the needs of participants, CSCCNJ sent out a survey asking questions such as: how concerned are you about COVID-19? what would make you change your mind about coming to our programs? and would you be interested in participating in virtual programs? The results of this survey were impactful, with over half of respondents stating that they are waiting to see how the situation unfolds. One participant in particular said, “Gathering together at CSCCNJ falls into necessary trips for me.”

“This solidifies that even in emergency situations like COVID-19, cancer is the primary stressor in their lives,” says Amy Sutton, CEO of CSCCNJ. “While there may be a lot going on in the community and reported through the media, our participants are still worried about their cancer diagnosis and the stressors that come along with it. It’s our job to support our participants through the various programs and services we offer.”

The Institute of Medicine has said psychosocial support is crucial in the delivery of quality cancer care. Distress caused by cancer, and the inability to connect with support and resources, causes disruptions at work and home. Working family members may need to become caregivers, impacting their income and potentially their entire workplace, and putting a family—and their colleagues’ families—further at risk. With this in mind, communities must plan ahead and prepare themselves before, during, or after a disaster. Thoughtful and enlightened planning makes a tremendous difference in readiness.

The organization also shared tips recommended by the CDC and other reputable sources for preparedness. Sutton says, “As a mental health resource in the community, it is important for our organization to inform our participants as well as check in with their stressors to determine what the best course of action is for them and the organization.”

“My experience tells me there is hope, if we are prepared and walk through life with one eye on the risks, so that the other eye can be open to live life fully. For now, however, the time is to focus all of our resources on joining together and doing what’s necessary to ensure we all come through the COVID-19 situation with resilience and better preparation for future crises,” Sutton concludes.

To learn more about preparedness during a cancer diagnosis in the face of COVID-19, visit

About Cancer Support Community Central New Jersey:Cancer Support Community Central New Jersey (CSCCNJ) is a registered 501c(3) and an independently licensed affiliate of Cancer Support Community, an international nonprofit organization. As experts in oncology mental health, the organization provides support, education, and hope to all people with cancer and their loved ones, So That No One Faces Cancer Alone®. Backed by evidence that the best cancer care includes social and emotional support, CSCCNJ creates a caring community to help individuals live with, through, and beyond cancer. At no cost to patients, family members and caregivers, the organization delivers essential programs and services including individual and group support; educational workshops; hands-on nutrition and healthy cooking education; classes to enhance health and wellness; and social activities for the entire family. For more information please visit their website at or call (908) 658-5400.



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